With the monsoon season on, we thought itÌ¢åÛåªd be nice to give you a few tips thatÌ¢åÛåªll ensure you donÌ¢åÛåªt have to take a rain-check on your cycling plan. Read on.
1. Keep yourself dry: Most people are usually comfortable with the idea of cycling with wet legs, however, over time these will be your undoing. It is logical to invest in a good pair of waterproof trousers. Off late, fleece lined shorts are becoming increasingly popular and they will help keep your legs warm.
The upper part of your body is taken care of, if you already own a cycling jacket. Most cycling jackets are made of breathable waterproof fabric with vents that allow air to flow around your body without Ì¢åÛå÷puffing it upÌ¢åÛåª much, in rain or shine.
The most important part of sustaining through this weather is keeping your hands and feet dry. Gloves have a lot of seams to provide flexibility and hence arenÌ¢åÛåªt waterproof. Having a mitten made of neoprene helps during rains as theyÌ¢åÛåªre bonded and do not allow water to see in. Additionally, you can use thermal hand warmers.
Keeping yourself dry involves having shoes which do not allow water to penetrate through them. You could go in for a pair of overshoes. Though they arenÌ¢åÛåªt completely water proof, they block majority of the rain and wind. If you canÌ¢åÛåªt afford to spend on overshoes and arenÌ¢åÛåªt fashion conscious, plastic covers over your shoes work too!
YouÌ¢åÛåªre also more likely to fall sick if your head isnÌ¢åÛåªt sufficiently covered. ItÌ¢åÛåªd help to use a helmet cover so that your hair isnÌ¢åÛåªt a drippy mess because of the water flowing in through your helmet vents.
2. Vision is priority: It is very important to be able to see clearly through the fog. Ensure your glasses for rain are of a light hint such as yellow as they provide clearer vision in comparison to dark shades. Opt for anti-fog lenses. If that isnÌ¢åÛåªt possible, make sure to keep some anti-fog lens drops and wipes handy.
Mark your bicycles with reflective stickers. ÌâåÊApart from adding bling to your ride, they also make your bicycle visible through rainy nights.
3. Use fenders: ÌâåÊTraditionally, a fender really works to protect you and your bicycle from spray kicked up by wet roads. If you ride in wet conditions without fenders, your chain, derailers and brakes, in all probability, will get sprayed with sandy, muddy water and will wear out sooner. There is no substitute for a full length fender.
Your race bicycle may often come without frame eyelets and thereby make it impossible to install a full length fender. If that is the case, you should consider using clip-ons, which may not provide as much protection as a full length fender, but is still better than nothing.
4. Watch your tyres: Rain often brings particles that lodge themselves between the contours of the tyres. These maybe splinters, glass debris or any sharp object that could weaken the carcass and cut through your tyre. So after each ride, ensure the tyre is fit for the next ride. It'd be advisable to use a heavier tyre with a thicker tread as they endure longer.
5. ÌâåÊPlan and brake early: There is nothing that can erode a brake pad faster than road grit and slush. When you brake suddenly, the residual water and grains wear out the brake pads. This can be prevented by braking early and allowing the wheel to have sufficient revolutions before it stops ensuring it carries as little water as possible.
6. Avoid puddles: As much fun as it might be to glide through puddles, avoid them. Any form of standing water is a threat to your cycle for you never know what is lurking beneath them - It could be a pothole or a pile of uneven stones that could damage your bicycle at a point where immediate repair facilities might not be available. Also, keep an eye out for rainbow patches, as they indicate the presence of oil slicks and can be hazardous.
Puddles; you never know what's lurking beneath them
7. Use a chain degreaser: Just as you clean up after a bicycle ride, it is necessary to ensure damage control by making your bicycle grit free and in good condition for the next ride. Cover your chain in degreaser and wipe it thoroughly with a rough cloth until it's dry. Use a lube to keep the chain smooth and rust free until next ride. Check this article for information on lubrication
8. Wipes: It is advisable to clean the hubs, bottom brackets and wheel rims using water and some wipes. There are a few wipes available especially to removing embrocation off cycles.
Although conditions never seem bad when youÌ¢åÛåªre enjoying a bicycle ride, if these precautions are too much to follow, you could consider relocating to Chennai where it hardly ever rains.
By Sneha Sankar